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24 May 2012, 15:15

McAfee: malware increasing across all platforms

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McAfee logo Malware has significantly increased across all platforms in recent months. According to a new report from McAfee, malware targeting PCs has now reached the highest levels in four years; a large rise in rootkits and password-stealing trojans as well as new threats, such as the ZeroAccess rootkit and other signed malware, have been noted.

The security services provider, which is now part of Intel, says that the total number of malware samples it has collected rose by 8 million to 83 million, up from 75 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011. Malware affecting Macs, such as the Flashback trojan, has also increased, with 250 new malware samples and 150 new fake anti-virus samples being added in the quarter. Vincent Weafer, McAfee Labs Senior VP, says that, "malware authors are continuing their unrelenting development of new malware," adding that, "The same skills and techniques that were sharpened on the PC platform are increasingly being extended to other platforms, such as mobile".

Mobile malware, including new adware and mobile backdoors, has also seen a huge jump. McAfee says that this malware was "targeted almost solely at the Android platform" and saw a 1,200% increase compared to the last quarter, with nearly 7,000 threats collected and identified in Q1 2012, up from 600 samples at the end of Q4 2011. A majority of these threats were found to have originated from third-party application markets, particularly those found in China and Russia.

Botnets saw growth in the first quarter, approaching almost 5 million infections at the highest point, with new infections rising in the US, Colombia, Japan, Poland and Spain. Global spam levels, however, saw a decline, falling to just over 1 trillion monthly spam messages in the quarter.

Further information can be found in the company's 28 page quarterly threats report, "McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2012PDF".

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